Two USFS Forestry Technicians posted on Facebook about COVID — one was fired and the other was not rehired

Their primary jobs were to fight wildland fires for the U.S. Forest Service

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Brian Gold
Brian Gold. Photo courtesy of Mr. Gold.

Two Forestry Technicians hired by the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildland fires found out last year that posting criticism of the agency on social media can cause them to lose their jobs. Both of them, one in California and the other in Arizona, wrote about what they perceived as inadequate procedures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. They were worried about their own health plus co-workers, their families, and the public they came in contact with while on firefighting assignments.


While en route to a fire last year, Brian Gold, a GS-5 assistant Captain on a 10-person initial attack fire crew on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona, was ordered to return to the district office immediately. He was then fired and told to hand over his government licenses, equipment, credit card, and ID. He did not even have time to bring his time and attendance report up to date.

From what Mr. Gold told me, the working conditions on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest during the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona in 2020 were similar to those experienced by Pedro Rios on the Klamath National Forest in Northern California whose story is farther down in this article. On a number of occasions he suggested to his supervisors that there were several specific COVID related improvements that could be implemented to safeguard the health of his crew and others on the District.

He meticulously documented events during the fire season — for example:

“I directly addressed numerous concerns including inconsistency of agency policy between forests and districts, a lack of protocols for our district, the absence of discussion of how to address the subject of Covid-19 with seasonals, concerns that politics and conspiracy theories were dominating informal discussions at our office, and my view that there was a lack of leadership and direction from our line officer and District Ranger, Ed Holloway.  I suggested we needed to have a serious conversation about our Covid-19 mitigation and develop a plan of action. We didn’t have thermometers, we didn’t have masks, we didn’t have disinfectant supplies. We couldn’t enforce any type of isolation upon the arrival of new employees. We were really actively discouraged from promoting social distancing.”

Mr. Gold, who worked in multiple states in 2020, said the differences within the U.S. Forest Service in how seriously they take the necessary pandemic precautions is like night and day. Some Forests, he said, are more proactive to maintain a safe working environment, while at other work sites he “was made to feel like I was an outright coward for suggesting there was merit in wearing a mask.”

Last week I talked with another firefighter who had assignments in many western states in 2020 and has firefighter friends who had been on the road for quite a bit of the summer. He had similar observations about how fire business was being conducted in the time of COVID. He prefers to remain anonymous when criticizing the U.S. Forest Service.

“If you happen to be from Montana,” he said, “literally nobody even cared about COVID. And if you were in Washington [state], in particular Region 6, I think there was a relatively high level of awareness of COVID. But I went down to Northern California and had somebody trying to hug me. I’m going, ‘What in the hell are you thinking, man, we’re not doing hugging!’ ”

Brian Gold
Brian Gold on a fire on the Tonto National Forest, Summer, 2020. Photo courtesy of Mr. Gold.

On March 17, 2020 the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) assigned three Area Command Teams to work with partners at all levels in the fire community to develop protocols for wildfire response during the pandemic. The teams worked directly with each Geographic Area’s Coordinating Group Chair, dispatch/coordination centers, and local units. Their products for each Geographic Area, titled “Wildland Fire Response Plan COVID-19 Pandemic” were released between April 8 and May 4; the plan for the Southwest (Arizona and New Mexico) was the first and California’s was the last.

On May 5, 2020 District Ranger Edwin Holloway and District Fire Management Officer Justin Thompson arrived unannounced at Mr. Gold’s workplace while he was instructing a unit of a chainsaw refresher class. Ranger Holloway explained that he wanted to talk with Mr. Gold about a Facebook post and one of his emails.

Mr. Gold sent us the text of the Facebook post from his personal Facebook account which included a link to an article on Wildfire Today. He said he added a comment “expressing concern about the interagency wildland fire response in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Here is the text that was posted May 2, 2020:

“I hope they are able to get some answers…because the silence has been deafening at the field level.  From local line officers to Regional and Washington Office staff, the lack of leadership, failure to anticipate challenges, lack of finite protocols, and fundamental inconsistencies between districts and forests is staggering.  Guidance and best management practices amount to a pile of shit without any enforcement power.  Our forest service leadership needs to start making real decisions that will protect the health and wellbeing of our fire service staff.  I hear a lot of lip service about hiring and retention issues within the agency.  This is already a high risk job with variable pay, questionable benefits, a difficult and cumbersome HR and Workers Compensation infrastructure, and a difficult to sustain lifestyle.  If the agency is truly interested in hanging on to us and continuing to fulfill its critical mission to the American public, it needs to start leading from the front.  If not there are going to be a lot more dead firefighters this summer and many more Forestry Technicians wondering if this the right agency or career field for them.”

Below is a screenshot of the top portion of the referenced Wildfire Today article:

May 1, 2020 Wildfire Today article, partial screenshot
May 1, 2020 Wildfire Today article, partial screenshot.

From Mr. Gold’s notes about the meeting on May 5, 2020:

“[Ranger Holloway] repeated that he was worried my ‘head was in the clouds’ about coronavirus.  He stated that one of his intentions in visiting me today was asking me to ‘prove’ to him that I was competent to lead the crew during this fire season.  He said he wanted to make sure that I was not going to be so distracted by coronavirus that “someone doesn’t get burned up or hit by a tree. I stated I did not wish for this conversation to be political and raised the concern that there had been a lot of political discussion in our office regarding the federal coronavirus response.  I stated this was unproductive and we should be focused on the health of our employees and the community.  I asked why our district had waited to tell at risk non-essential employees to work from home, why we were not wearing face masks when we were operating in non-operational settings, and why we were not social distancing.  I also asked why there was so much inconsistency between how Forest Service offices were managing their coronavirus response and why there was so much inconsistency in interpretation of guidance.  Ed repeated that I had a mission critical role and expressed concern that my head was ‘in the clouds’ about this ‘coronavirus thing.’ He said maybe next year there will be ’11 or 15 fire orders’ about Coronavirus but ‘we’ve only known about this since mid-March, only six weeks’ and everyone is working on it right now. What I was told was that ‘higher ups’ had seen my facebook post and it had gained attention. At one point it was stated that this has caught the attention of people at the region.”

Mr. Gold said the District Ranger and the Fire Management Officer were much more concerned about the comment he wrote on the Facebook post than the inclusion of the Wildfire Today article. He said he deleted the Facebook post soon after the May 5 meeting.

The email referenced by Ranger Holloway was sent April 26 by Mr. Gold.

“While at work at the Clifton Ranger District Office,” Mr. Gold said, “I authored an email to district staff talking about [my crew’s] best management practices during the Coronavirus pandemic. I sent this email to staff members that routinely interact with our fire crew.”

On May 8, three days after that meeting, he was told to turn around while en route to a fire and at the District Office was given a termination letter, that read in part:

“This letter is to notify you are being terminate [sic] from your Career Conditional appointment and from Federal Service…

“As a public servant you are held to a high standard and your actions are to be above reproach. Your misconduct is unbecoming of a federal employee and has reflected negatively on the Forest Service.”

The termination was effective at the close of business that day, about one day before his probationary period ended, Mr. Gold said. During federal civil service career conditional employees’ one-year probationary period, it is relatively easy to be fired. After that, it becomes much more complex and a series actions, rules, and procedures must be followed.

Fairly soon after the termination, Mr. Gold worked as an Administratively Determined (AD) employee, then got hired again by the U.S. Forest Service in a career conditional fire position in another state.

Northern California

After 12 years as a wildland firefighter Pedro Rios acquired quite a bit of fire experience. He had worked on a contractor’s hand crew for six years, after which he spent another six years working on a hand crew and engines with the USFS on three National Forests — Lassen, Plumas, and finally on the Klamath.

Pedro Rios
Pedro Rios

It can be difficult for a seasonal or temporary employee with no benefits like Mr. Rios to get into a permanent position where he and his family could get health insurance and access to a retirement program. He was a GS-4 but was qualified as a Type 5 Incident Commander able to take command of small fires.

When his Northern California crew was sent to Southern California to augment the forces there during a busy part of the fire season he had concerns about some of the procedures put in place by the fire staff on the Klamath. They did not quarantine before or after traveling. After they were told to return from what was considered a “hot zone”, and being on standby at a fire station on the Cleveland National Forest where employees had tested positive for COVID days or weeks before their arrival, they were told that instead of quarantining for a week or more, they were supposed to “self-isolate” if they experienced symptoms after return.

Pedro Rios
Pedro Rios. Photo courtesy of Mr. Rios.

Mr. Rios at that point thought of his son who in 2019 was life flighted to Children’s Hospital in Davis, California and kept for 2 days for labored breathing due to severe asthma. His fiancée also has asthma, but not to the same degree.

Worried about the impact his crew returning without quarantining would have on his home town and his family, on July 8, 2020 he wrote a post on the Siskiyou Coronavirus Community Response Facebook page. He included a screenshot of the top management positions on the Klamath NF.

Pedro Rios Facebook post
Pedro Rios Facebook post, July 8, 2020.

In the post, after explaining that the plan was for the personnel to return without a quarantine, he name-checked the Fire Staff Officer on his home forest, “so the public can voice their concerns to him as well.”

On July 14, 2020 District Ranger Drew Stroberg sent Mr. Rios an email regarding the Facebook post, saying he needed to go through the chain of command, rather than directly to the public. “I have determined that you have not broken any written rules and certainly don’t mind you bringing your concerns forward, however the way you chose to do this (via social media) and the tone you used in your social media post was unprofessional and showed a lack of integrity.” And, “I have to let you know that a future failure to meet these expectations may result in disciplinary action.”

After the fire season was over, on December 1 District Ranger Stroberg left a voice mail message for Mr. Rios, saying “We are not exercising, uh, rehire eligibility next year so I’m hoping that you will reapply for your position.”

He did reapply, but as of March 20, 2020 the signs are that the Klamath NF is not going to bring him back to his former job.

“I am being denied rehire rights and blacklisted,” Mr. Rios said. “I have only seen two people denied rehire rights and both were either people who received bad work appraisals for not following orders, were on their phone too much while on a fire, or for drinking in barracks. I only have great work appraisals.”

Mr. Rios filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, stating that he was “discriminated and retaliated against due to protesting lack of COVID-19 protocols and protections for the fire crew, families and the public.”

He also filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel alleging that his free speech rights as a public employee were violated.

For the coming fire season Mr. Rios has found a supervisory firefighting job outside of California.

A statement from the U.S. Forest Service

I asked the USFS if considering the “Wildland Fire Response Plans (COVID-19 Pandemic)” that were written for each Geographic Area, does each Forest  develop their own plans and procedures about how they will manage mitigations for the COVID-19 issue? The response was from Stanton Florea, Fire Communications Specialist who works for the agency’s Washington, DC office.

The USDA Forest Service is committed protecting all of our employees and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is still our priority among our first responders and communities we serve. The 2020 Fire Year provided many learning opportunities. We’ll continue to employ those successful practices in our firefighting plans for 2021.

The Wildland Fire Response Plans provide broad interagency guidance for wildfire personnel/leadership given the context of COVID-19.  The plans provide protocols and best management practices and identify screening and support resources for the prevention of, and response to, COVID-19 illness. The specifics of implementing these plans is left to local units, as circumstances vary when local needs and directives vary from national guidance.  For example, where testing resources can be accessed locally, or if vacant government housing is available for quarantine/isolation purposes.

When asked for the agency’s comments about the two firefighters who lost their jobs after posting on Facebook, Mr. Florea said:

We do not comment on personnel matters.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

48 thoughts on “Two USFS Forestry Technicians posted on Facebook about COVID — one was fired and the other was not rehired”

  1. Any news about firefighters getting vaccinated prior to fire season heating up? On a separate note, both firefighters were qualified at leadership levels but were only paid at GS-5? That reflects more poorly on USFS than any social media post.

  2. I agree, Lawyer up. USFS management has never shown the line firefighting force the respect they deserve. They act like bullies. One of my smokejumper colleagues was threatened with termination because he wrote his congressman, complaining of inexplicably delayed paychecks.

  3. While disappointing and infuriating, this isn’t a surprise. There are literally hundreds of FS offices located in politically conservative communities throughout the country. It’s part and parcel of working jobs that are predominately located in rural areas! The informal, conspiracy theory and politics driven conversations witnessed by Mr Gold take place dozens of times per day. After a total lack of leadership and direction for the better part of 2020, (and the active downplaying of the seriousness of the matter) laughter at, and ignoring policies, cherry-picking what parts of guidance to follow, and receiving cover from overhead and line officers who hold the same opinions has become a running joke. Imagine if we treated any other policies this way – drive those extra hours what could happen? Don’t worry about punching line with the fire below you. Who cares? How many times have FS employees – especially in fire – bitten their tongues in order to keep from rocking the boat, all the while isolating themselves (in a community where having each other’s back is critical!) or sucking it up rather than putting a target on their backs. It is literally the total opposite of what we’re supposed to be doing. There’s not a better example of terrible risk management, a dismal lack of accountability, and example of the undercurrent of fear and distrust that runs thru the agency and society today. The earth is round, wildfires aren’t started by lasers from space, and viruses are contagious. That we even debate any of this is silly.

  4. Not at all surprising. I lost my rehire rights, even with a fully successful performance appraisal at the end of that season, after my engine captain found out in the off season that the crew had filed a SafeNET due to his actions on a fire (he admitted it to a witness on a prescribed burn even). The agency covered it up, ignored their own written policies, and did zero investigation with witnesses I listed in my harassment and retaliation report.

  5. It happened to me too. I was an AD assigned to a large fire in Colorado. I posted on my private Facebook page that there had been a significant exposure on the fire and than mostly everyone had to be tested and some folks with known contact with the individual had to be quarantined. I commented that people really needed to be careful if they don’t feel well and to self quarantine. And that it was a good example of how one infected person can have a big impact on many. A couple friends asked me to make the post public so they could share it. I told them I would after news of the exposure was public knowledge, which I did. My post said absolutely nothing critical of the Fire or the Forest Service. Just stated a fact. The morning after I made the post public my supervisor from the fire called me at home (was on a day off and in the mountains out of cell range)) and left a message for me to call as soon as possible. I called her that night and she said “higher ups saw your post about the exposure. It violated Forest Service Policy because it was not authorized. You are terminated immediately. You cannot come in to get your things (I was working out of the SO), we will send them to you. You need to send in your ID and time asap. And that was it.

  6. You might want to check all the facts I have worked as a fed for a long time, and getting fired is a long process with lots of paper work and lots of HR people forest sumperviors and rangers involved. I admit not rehire a seasonal is very common for lots of reason but firing a perm employee is a long process.

  7. The piece says he was career conditional. Easier to remove a probationary employee than it is to get rid of seasonal. Something about it being like an extended interview. They coach you on it when you become a supervisor. They want to make it easy to remove people in their first year because it is tough later.

  8. I worked in a different Federal Agency. We had a strong union. Unless one committed a crime on the job, progressive discipline was utilized. Verbal warning…written warning…suspension…then termination. Union representation at each level was allowed. I realize that the nature of the seasonal employment is not the same as career employment. The lack of unified management policies across the USFS is appalling. Firefighters must be treated better than this. Change will not come from within the FS. People…contact your reps in Washington, especially the ones who are on committees and subcommittees that oversee the USDA and the USFS.

  9. The chain of command has responsibilities to act upon safety concerns. While resorting to social media should be a last resort, it is a symptom of organizational neglect. Employees should be encouraged to speak up, not gagged and left to swing in the wind. The actions of management in this matter speaks volumes about attitudes toward safety at these units. Deal with it up front.

  10. Jim — no. The only other comment I see from you since March 7 is one submitted about two hours before this one, which mentioned Fire Managers. Comments are moderated to weed out spam and those that violate our terms of use. Moderation usually takes several hours.

  11. They got smoked out. A friend working AD last summer, experienced quite a wide range of Covid protocols in the West. One assignment in UT, near a small town wthe ICP was in the town, absolutely no Covid guidelines, tho he has always followed them since last March. He was dumbfounded, but knew he couldn’t say a word. The larger the fires, the better the guidelines followed were. Fortunately I know I he’s been vaccinated, so this season will be easier.

    But this is just, wrong, wrong, wrong, full stop.

    Lawyer up, I agree. Bill, didn’t you post a story reporting that over 200 wildland fighters got Covid last summer?

  12. I was a FS employee for approximately 30 years. I served in various leadership positions as acting regional leasable minerals staff, Forest Minerals staff and acting district ranger numerous times. I was a type 3 logistics and supply, on a type 3 team an did some stints on a type 2 team as base camp manager and supply. After retirement, I became a federal contractor, jumping trough the required hoops and providing excellent service in 2 regions (2 & 3). I provided potable water, and when the COVID 19 hit, I kept looking for information as to how the Federal Agencies were going to deal with it. Since the resource I was supplying would affect every person at a fire camp I assumed information would be forthcoming. As fire season approached I had to make several critical decisions regarding my availability. With little to no information flowing to contractors, let alone agency personnel, since I had health issues that may be compromised by COVID 19 I decided to remove my equipment from availability on ROSS. I had let several certifications expire, in anticipation of closing my business down at the end of the year. Despite making my equipment unavailable, I received approximately 8 calls to be dispatched to fires over the summer. Not one time did I ever receive any information on how Potable water would be handled safely at fire camps, so that I could acquire PPE. The plans that were put out at that time looked like the usual CYA stuff, with little or no substance to the plans, and then essentially my information indicated that it was every man for himself. That was a totally unacceptable situation in my mind, and I was glad that I had made the decision I did. I feel fortunate to have made this decision to protect my own health as well as others.

  13. EEO will only help if you’re discriminated as a protected class. Please change your your complaint to reflect this out it will be dismissed on the those grounds.
    I’ve filed EEO grievances and was also a shop steward. Keep up the fight brothers

  14. I was told by California Congressman there going to start and inquire on Forestry Technicians posted on Facebook about COVID issue since it made national news. It sound like they are cover under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). If you read up on the, Supreme Court case OCT 2014, of former air marshal did not violate law in whistleblower case. The Supreme Court ruled that an air marshal fired for leaking information about plans that he felt endangered the public could seek protection under a federal law protecting whistleblowers.

  15. I am not a government employee but a carpenter in construction for forty years. We new better then to air our dirty laundry out side of the company (family). If there was a concern we talked to our supervisor or employer, not the press or government agencies. Facebook is not the place to bitch about your crew, employer, wife, lover or best friend.

  16. I would think the persons fired in this case would have good cases if they brought it up with a lawyer. Would agree with Mr. Barber that in the future, an employee of any company shouldn’t air their grievances on a social platform rather, bring it up with legal council. I didn’t go to work all last year because after calling a few folks, it didn’t seem there wasn’t much out there for mitigating this virus. I think I made a good call.

  17. I find this article interesting on so many levels. If this happened to women, would there be an article? I think not. But, finally it’s happening to men and now y’all are upset? Wake up! This has been going on for a long time!

  18. You didn’t get fired because of +what+ you posted in public, you got fired because you bypassed your chain of command, posted publicly going against the policies that you agreed with when you signed on. But this was only used as an excuse to get rid of you, you were disruptive to the safety of the rest of us, you whined and cried about a tiny risk while ignoring the huge risks right in front of you. If you were that afraid of COVID, you should have stayed home. You are an adult, if you wish to wear a mask, no one was stopping you, if you wished to be perfectly safe, stay home or find a job in a cozy cubicle in a university where there are plenty of safe spaces. Forestry work is not safe. Few of the people in this occupation on the front lines are in risk groups for COVID, no geriatrics, no asthma sufferers, etc. All of this was pretty far down on the list of risk. Your whining was distracting, annoying and the rest of us are glad you are gone. Of course, now you see your dismissal as a shining beacon of social injustice, how dare they put you aside, how dare they dismiss your “very real concerns” and as soon as you find yourself an appropriate ambulance chaser who will happily take 40% of the millions you expect to fleece, you will jump on that bandwagon too. No matter that whatever you get paid will remove needed funds from future firefighting efforts, YOU will be vindicated and YOU will hold your head high with moral righteousness and wave the banner of SAFETY at all cost for all to see. I hope you remember the bitter taste of your victory in the years to come and that your money ends up tasting like ash in your foul mouth.

  19. For all of you who say lawyer up…Yes, that sounds like a great idea, but let me tell you what that really means. You will waste years of your life and tons of money to go to the MSPB, just for the Judge to dismiss your case, based on Lucia vs. SEC, because there is not a Board.

  20. “Former FS Employee” — your two identical messages sent under two different names were not approved in moderation because they invoked politics, which is a violation of our terms of use. Moderation usually takes several hours.

  21. wow! spoken like a true company man. Are you fishing for a cash award from your fellow supervisors. It is a public service to point out safety hazards on the job, whether real or perceived. Otherwise nothing will change. All of the brass generate nothing but chaff. Real safety measures and equipment are developed by the guys and gals on the line. If it weren’t line firefighters, we would still be fighting fire wearing frisco jeans, hickory shirts and fedoras. Municipal firefighters would still be growing long beards to filter smoke rather than wearing breathing apparatus.When admin yes men types like you are confronted with such info, you look for ways to shoot the messenger. Listen to the guys/gals on the line. They are out there, not sucking down the cold juice and playing computer games in some spacious command tent. As for your comment that “forestry work is not safe” is just ignorant. it is very safe and most of us have had careers that spanned decades without a single injury. There is risk and anyone who has knowledge of the job knows risk can be mitigated.

  22. Well said Joe! This kind of vitriol and bullying should be moderated more than political posts. (arguably this FM Bill is making a political statement). This kind of overhead should just retire, stay home with their fiance named Shannon and her daschunds. No need for that attitude in fire.

  23. Phillip you couldn’t be anymore wrong. I worked for the Forest Service as a permanent employee for years, I was removed from my permanent position after reporting numerous safety violations and bullying. They can do whatever they want and turned my life upside-down. The entire agency is broken and led by incompetence.

  24. Choosing to not post a message from you on his private website that he owns is not the same as censorship. The definition of censorship is quickly available online from a variety of sources. Pick one and read it. k

  25. The MSPB has not had a quorum for four years so it now has a backlog of over three thousand cases. (Why?)

  26. Carl, according to Lucia vs. SEC Administrative Judges do not have the authority to rule with out a Board. No members were nominated under the Trump administration.

  27. I think you and your fellow Forest Service employees ought to push hard to be represented by a union. You will be represented in personnel actions through steps laid out in your contract. At the end of the process youi may be represented by a union attorney at no cost to you. I worked for the state of Washington for 30 years and was steward, president of local labor management, and President of a statewide labor-management team. The benefits include: managers don’t like the process because it exposes them, so the often deop the issue; what managers now keep hidden becomes a matter of agency, or even public information, showing how bad some managers are; your rights are protected; and much more. You may say “I Never get in trouble.” You may if a supervisor or even another employee doesn’t like you. Read everything you can about the 30 Mile Fire. This fire resulted in a long litigation process and will give you an idea of how the process works and what the FS can and can’t do. Get a copy of the federal laws that cover your position and the personnel manual and know them. Additionally, if covered, read and know your contracr. Finally, don’t do anything stupid. Don’t give them the stick to beat you with.

  28. Cry baby. Mad because everything was so hectic and no one really knew what to do. Best thing to do is nothing major thats for sure. Once again over paid cry baby.

  29. If you want to bitch , complain and whine on social media about your company than it’s fair grounds for dismissal. It’s not professional. Grow up!

  30. A SafeNET isn’t social media. It’s the supposed “appropriate” avenue for reporting unsafe conditions and close calls. I didn’t post it on social sites. But since USFS won’t follow their own written policies, and keeps inept perm employees when they shouldn’t, I don’t blame folks for going public.

  31. If you bothered to read the article, and weren’t prepared with a politically charged response from the beginning (“find a job in a cozy cubicle in a university where there are plenty of safe spaces” and obvious mocking “social injustice” – could you have bigger dog whistles for where you stand on the political spectrum?) you might realize that the chain was followed, and because Mr Gold was an irritant to his overhead, they used his social media as a reason to dismiss him. You only have to note he was rehired to the same Agency at a different location to see how idiotic FS “guidance” is for COVID. It’s a failure from the top down, based on an utter lack of leadership and denial of the risks dating back to early 2020. You presume to speak for the rest of us, saying we’re glad he’s “gone”. You couldn’t be more wrong, and your whining about a fellow FS employee expecting that we follow policy and mitigate risks – no matter how inconsequential you deem them – is “distracting and annoying”. How your comment didn’t get flagged as political is a mystery.

  32. By posting on social media, it only showed that you were complaining to people who don’t care about your situation. As cumbersome as it is, there is a process to follow within the agency by following the chain of command. If your supervisor won’t listen, go to their supervisor, and so on. Posting on social media is easy. Nothing worth your time and safety is easy.

  33. I agree with you Jeff. Posting on Social Media does no good. One must go through the chain of command but it wouldn’t hurt to get some legal advise also. I wonder if the National Labor Board would help with that too. The people who were fired and not rehired were obviously concerned for their health and for their fellow employees. Fire is inherently dangerous but this virus is a cause for concern. Big fire camps have their problems as everyone knows but this virus just adds another heads up.

  34. Posting on social media is the new way to communicate, but is by no means an effective way. It is like throwing mud on a wall and hoping it sticks. The old ways are tried and true. (I’m showing my age.)

  35. There are no such thing as rehire rights. There’s rehire eligibility that the agency may choose to extend to temp employees for the next year. Just saying.

  36. The HR handbook clearly states that in order for the USFS not to extend rehire to temp seasonals is if they have a less than fully successful performance appraisal. I’ve also seen in it written that way by a overhead and in documents.

  37. There will be no relief until the MSPB Board is reinstated, if ever. In effect, the Administrative Judge (AJ) now has unlimited power since there can be no reversal of a decision without the required Board.

    It is a no-win situation for the employee. If there is no MSPB appeal, the removal, or whatever action, becomes final. If there is an appeal, the waiting list for a Board decision is probably going to be at least four years for a case to be resolved. The AJ is covered. The Agency is a sure winner. The former employee is left hanging for years. In other words, there is no such thing as what was previously known as “civil service commission” protection.for federal workers.

  38. Did you just call a GS05 s an “over paid cry baby”? Perhaps you don’t understand our pay scale vs our responsibilities….. and I’m further up the food chain. NONE of us are over paid. And all of us have a right to voice opinion….. be prepared for consequences. I’ve been around 22 yrs and shut up and dig doesn’t fly anymore. Enjoy your day.

  39. Really? Have you read the comments. It’s not just about complaining on social media (which is our right, ya know that Freedom of Speech thing in the US Constitution). It’s about the hierarchy within these government entities that are clearly terminating and recinding rehire rights for ANYONE that dares make any suggestion for change or points out failures or lack of responsible leadership within the ranks. So, no, voicing your grievances on a personal social media post is not “ground for dismissal” it’s Freedom of Speech until the Constitution is revised or re-written.

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